West Kootenay doctors, nurses declare Code Red on climate change

Last year’s heat dome was the worst weather disaster in Canadian history, killing 619 people within just one week.

In Central Europe, the heat wave’s record temperatures soared above 40C and claimed more than 1,000 lives in Portugal alone.

“It’s not our planet itself: it will orbit the sun long after we’re gone,” said climate scientist Katherine Hayhoe. “What’s at stake is literally us.”

On World Health Day in April, Doctors for Planetary Health-West Coast (D4PH) issued a report titled “CODE RED for British Columbia: Time to declare a climate and ecological emergency and make peace with nature.”

D4PH issued a copy of this document to every MLA in BC, including Kootenay West MLA Katrine Conroy.

Kootenay West members of Doctors and Nurses for Planetary Health-Kootenay Boundary (DNPH-KB) were given the opportunity to discuss the importance of the document and pass it on to Conroy at a July 21 meeting.

“The extreme urgency of the climate crisis we are in cannot be overstated,” read a release from DNPH-KB. “It is the biggest threat to our health, and at the same time, our greatest opportunity for improving global health.

“We know how busy healthcare workers have been since the start of the pandemic. But those of us involved in Doctors and Nurses for Planetary Health in the Kootenays and on the coast see the urgency of the climate crisis and have prioritized our efforts to work towards climate action and a just recovery.”

The Code Red report is based on a document published last year by The Lancet medical journal which demonstrated the relationship between health and climate change.

This BC-Focused Code Red lays out the extent of damage human-generated greenhouse gas emissions are causing all life on the planet.

It also shows how five climate and ecological actions “will have clear benefits for all people and natural ecosystems, offering a path to a more prosperous, just, and equitable society.”

Code Red urges the provincial and federal governments to act now and declare a climate emergency, take action on climate change, protect and restore nature, create broad transformative change focused on human wellbeing in balance with nature, and ensure a just transition.

Doctors, Nurses and health researchers are seeing the impacts on their patients around the world.

“We have the opportunity to vastly improve our world and BC is positioned to be a global leader in climate and ecological policy and action.

“The Clean BC road map is a start, but it will take every person, business, industry and government to play a role in implementing these plans. The connection between planetary and individual health and climate change is undeniable.”

Code Red can be viewed at doctorsforplanetaryhealth.com.

DNPH-KB is part of the West Kootenay Climate Hub. Check out their website at www.westkootenayclimatehub.ca.


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